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Apr 10, 2011

Ok, this was supposed to be a walk in the aprk with a big scoreline. But it turned out in the end as a huge struggle. FC Barcelona looked completely out of focus and had to comeback from a goal down in this match against the bottom placed team in La Liga. In the end we managed to secure the three points and keep the eight point cushion going into the "El Clasico" at the Bernebeu. In what was a very tough match two goals from Messi and one from Thiago cancelled out the opening goal from Corona. There was confusion over who would be the goal keeper but all those confusion were laid to rest after Pinto was declared fit. The defense had Alves, Pique, Milito and Maxwell. Guardiola decided against resting xavi for this match. So we had Xavi, Thiago and Mascherano made the midfield. Iniesta, Messi and Bojan formed the front trio.

Barca took the control of the game from the word go. From the first whistle onwards we have camped near to Almeria box. Almeria successfully kept Barca at bay in the early exchanges and Barca looked pretty much uninterested in the early moments. After the first ten minutes Almeria started to apply some pressure which resulted in winning three corners in five minutes time. In the 16th minute we had our first attack of the match. Bojan received the ball from Milito on the right skipped past one defender and send in a good run and then cut the ball back to Thiago in the centre, who could not keep his shot down. In the 19th minute Mascherano was booked for bringing down Crusat at the edge of the box. Now that rules him out of the Bernebeu visit. In the 22nd minute Messi's shot was deflected for a corner after some great inter-play by Bojan and Iniesta in the box. In the 27th minute Iniesta tried to curl a ball into the far corner but went wide.

In the 28th minute Messi sets up in a great run but ended up slicing the shot wide. In the 31st minute Bojan who picked up an injury made way for Villa. Bojan had a good night till that time and would be cursing his luck for not able to continue. In the 32nd minute Maxwell blasted his shot high and wide after yet another some excellent work by Messi in the box. In the 41st minute Xavi shot high over the bar of after another series of passes being exchnaged all over Almeria box. In the 45th minute Messi set in another run from right and forced the first save from Alves, which incidenlty was our first shot on target. The stupid referee never allowed us to take the corner and gave only ten seconds of injury time. We had more than 70% of possession in the first half but had only one shot on target and that too came in the last minute.

The second half saw we pushing pretty hard from the start but our passing was still somewhat suspect. In the 49th minute Villa almost put us ahead but his shot came off the inside of the post. Almeria in the 50th minute went 1-0 ahead following a quick counter from a corner after everyone in the defense was exposed by a quick counter. In the 52nd minute David Villa's run was picked out by a long ball from Milito and Diego Alves brought Villa down in the box and we were awarded the penalty. Messi scored from the penalty. Guardiola immediately took off Milito and brought in Pedro, Mascherano moved to the defense. That was the clear signal that Guardiola want all the three points from this match. In the 56th minute Pedro wasted the chance of the match; Iniesta found Villa in the box, who cut inside and then send in a curing shot which pushed away by Diego Alves but it fell straight in Pedro's path, who hit the sidenetting with an open goal infront of him. In the 60th minute Messi sent in a great chipped pass to Villa in the box, but Villa headed it staright to Alves hands. In the 62nd minute Pedro had a shot from outside the box saved by Diego.

In the 64th minute Thiago put Barca ahead with a good header from a Messi corner kick. Thiago had a kind of On-Off match till then, but that goal from him could prove very crucial in the title race. Guardiola immediately took off goal scorer Thiago and brought in Keita. Defending a one goal lead is a very tricky matter and they almost struggled to deal with a long Almeria free kick in the 85th minute. In the 92nd minute after survining a bit of nervous moment, Messi stole the ball from the Almeria defense and finsihed off game with a great finish.

There is no point in analysing who all had a bad game. Every one of them had pretty poor match compared to their standard. The positives are the fact that Messi has ended his small goal scoring drought and the fact that we have continued our scoring from set pieces trend. The negatives were so much, but the major factor will be we continued to getting exposed from counter attacks. This sub standard performance could be a direct result of the fact that most of the players would have been thinking about Real Madrid. But weakness exposed in the last three matches does give Real Madrid a sense of belief to deal with us at the Bernebeu. But with the eight point lead we have the situation perfectly in our hand.

All About FC Barcelona is a Blog dedicated to the Most prestigous Club in the world, FC Barcelona by an ardent fan. Here I discuss about the Latest happening surrounding our Club and present my Views about the same.

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